'I'll never change the way I play' - Antony hits back at 'clown' criticism after Man Utd showboating storm

Antony Manchester United 2022-23Getty Images
  • Antony criticised for showing off
  • The Brazilian issues defiant response
  • Trying to imitate football 'gods'

WHAT HAPPENED? Antony was heavily criticised for spinning with the ball on the spot in United's 3-0 Europa League win against Sheriff last month, with even his manager Erik ten Hag responding with a shake of his head. The 22-year-old was taken off at half-time, with United legend Paul Scholes labelling him a ''clown'' for his theatrics, but the Brazilian has now issued a defiant response.

WHAT THEY SAID: Antony said in The Players' Tribune: "With a ball at your feet, you should only feel joy. I was born a dribbler. It is part of my roots. It is the gift that took me from the slums to the Theatre of Dreams. I will never change the way I play, because it is not a style, it is me. It is a part of me. A part of our story as Brazilians. If you just watch one 10 second clip of me, then you will not understand. Nothing I do is a joke. Everything has a purpose. To go forward with boldness, to strike fear into the opponent, to create space, to make a difference for my team."

He added on the players he took inspiration from in his youth: "If you think I’m just a clown, then you don’t understand my story. The art of Ronaldinho and Cristiano and Neymar inspired me as a child. I watched these Gods in amazement on stolen Wifi, then I went out to the concrete pitch to try to imitate their genius.''

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Antony was backed by his Brazilian teammates, Fred and Neymar, after the showboating storm. Neymar took to Instagram to write "Keep it up, don’t change anything! Go for it boy! Boldness and joy", while Fred said that it was "annoying" to hear from Scholes and urged his United colleague to keep expressing himself.


Antony Sheriff 2022-23Getty ImagesNeymar Antony InstagramAntony Fred Manchester United 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR ANTONY? The winger is currently with the Brazil squad for the upcoming World Cup and will hope to start against Serbia on November 24.

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